Beautiful First Camp

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10,11

This is the truth that I have been clinging to this past week of camp and follow up. God’s word never returns to him void; seeds were planted this past week, while others were watered, and still others were harvested. Our first camp was beautiful. The students were so lively, willing to learn, and loving. My team enjoyed doing Nové Město pod Smrkem/Hejnice camp with another intern team-the Patty team. We were incredibly blessed to work with the Czech team, blessed by their love, desire to serve, and their really fun personalities. Our three teams got along really great through the entire week. It is different being on the other side of leadership-being counted as a leader. Working together the behind-the-scenes of camp, working through conflict, and trying to make this the best camp that these students could ever experience. I enjoyed being able to be a leader at this camp and look forward to being part of the leadership for the next two camps as well.
I think my favorite part of the camp was hiking Sněžka with the entire camp. Sněžka is 1602 meters high (5,255 ft.) and is the tallest mountain in the Czech Republic. I have been wanting to hiking Sněžka since last year, so I am thankful that I was able to do that! Our hike was about 17 km (10.5 miles) long and took us about 5 hours to complete. I didn’t only like the hike because of where we were going, but I enjoyed the company so much. I hiked with Tyna, who barely speaks any English, and it was so great. We barely talked but I have been learning that non-verbal communication speaks so much louder that verbal can. We spent the hike laughing, huffing, and encouraging each other up the mountain. The top was so beautiful and well worth it.
I was able to stay at Tyna’s house during follow up because of the connection we had through non-verbal communication! She is so sweet and so is her whole family. They really blessed me with hospitality and love. Her mom is an amazing cook and mother. She made some of the best food that I have had in a while. Let’s be real, camp food isn’t exactly prime eating. I love moms and dads so much. I admire them for what they do in loving their children, even when their children are little punks. Teenagers can be tough, but through a mother’s eyes that teenager is still so precious-and I admire that. Parents want the best for their kids-I appreciate and feel blessed by that. I am learning to love being cared for, and this mom was a part of teaching me that. She looked at me and treated me as one of her own, and there is nothing better than a mother’s love.
To be honest, this week was tough. I found myself frequently searching, seeking and asking for guidance and grace during the camp. I have been learning to depend on God and this week I found that without him I do not know how to laugh, love, enjoy, and have peace. When I am not depending on him I feel drained, lacking, inadequate, and dry, and I do not like anyone. With God I feel alive and able to love.
One funny story about the camp food this week. We were sitting and waiting for our meal and I am handed a plate with pureed spinach, boiled potatoes, and a poached egg. I’m not super proud of this, but I could not eat that. I tried to and I could not. For some reason I constantly felt like I was going to throw up! So weird, huh? Disclaimer, I do not really like eggs, pureed spinach, and I just recently started to not enjoy boiled potatoes. The kids that I was eating with made fun of me for not eating it, constantly asking me if I was hungry. Let’s just say that during this meal I picked up a few new Czech phrases-“I’m not hungry” and “I’m full”. I’m not proud of not eating that meal, I really wish I could have! My stomach was not having it though, and I decided to go with my gut on that one.
Right now we are headed to Malenovice for our next American training! Our American team is actually from Tucson, AZ (BOO SCUMCATS), but I’m excited for a little taste of home. Pray for them as they travel today and tomorrow to meet us here! Pray for me and my team as we rejuvenate, recharge and reenergize for our next camp that starts on Saturday! Thank you all for your constant support and love.
Love you all!
Melanie

Here are some shots from the last half of camp and followup!

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